Turkey to help upgrade Punjab health structure

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Salim Ahmed

Lahore—A delegation from Ministry of Health Turkey which is presently on a weeklong tour of Punjab, visited King Edward Medical University on Saturday. The delegation was also briefed about the medical education system in Punjab, admission policy. The delegation also apprised about rules and regulations of Punjab Human Organs Transplantation Authority and its implementation. Vice Chancellor KEMU Prof Faisal Masood, VC UHS Maj Gen (R) Dr Muhammad Aslam, VC FJMU Prof Dr Fakhar Imam, Special Secretary Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Dr Sajid Chohan and other senior officers of the department were also present in the meeting.
It was agreed that Turkish Ministry of Health would extend technical cooperation and consultation to the Punjab Health Department for the development of nursing sector, capacity-building and training of human resource and further improvement in the system of human organ transplantation.
Later, the delegation visited the office of Secretary Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Punjab in Civil Secretariat, where the Managing Director of Punjab Health Foundation Dr Sohail Saqlain and Chief Executive Officer Prime Minister National Health Insurance Scheme, Implementation & Management Company Punjab Dr Saira Saddique briefed the delegation about their respective programmes.
Dr Sohail Saqlain informed the delegation that Punjab government is strengthening the private health sector to provide better healthcare facilities to the people, for this purpose, soft loans have been provided to the doctors of private sector for setting up their clinics/ diagnostic centers. Dr Sohail Saqlain further informed that smart loans scheme of rupees upto seven lakh has recently been introduced for doctors and allied health professionals. He said that these are all interest-free loans.
He said that restructuring of Punjab Health Foundation is also being done with the help of DFID. Dr Sohail Saqlain further said that the scope of PHF also being extended. The proposals for collaboration with PHF through chain of Turkey Private Hospitals also came under discussion and it is agreed that it would be looked into and worked out. Chief Executive Officer Prime Minister Health Insurance programme in Punjab Dr Saira Saddique informed the delegation that like other provinces, health insurance scheme is also being launched in four districts in Punjab as a pilot project. The districts included Rahim Yar Khan, Khanewal, Sargodha and Narowal.
She informed that two different package are being introduced to ensure access of poor people to the health facilities. The first scheme for common diseases and procedures is being introduced for which Insurance Card of Rs.50 thousand per family would be provided whereas the other package is Rs.2.5 lakh per family per year for chronic and complicated diseases like cardiac diseases, hepatitis, cancer, renal failure etc. She disclosed that Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is likely to inaugurate health insurance scheme in district Rahim Yar Khan at the end of the current month.
Dr Saira Saddique informed that all the expenditure would be met by the government who would provide funds/ premium to the insurance company and poor people would get indoor health facilities in public as well as private hospitals in the respective districts free of cost. She disclosed that after completion of pilot project, plan is underway to introduce universal health coverage in all the districts of the province.

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